The Hierarchy Of Values In The Communal Contradictions Of Socio-Cultural Transformations


The article analyses the ethnic, religious and Eurasian values of the peoples of the former Soviet Union in the context of their classification as determinants of inter-ethnic, inter-religious and civilizational contradictions. The role of Sufism in the value integration of the ethnic groups of the Eurasian space is considered in their largest religious systems – Orthodoxy, Islam, Buddhism. The hypothesis for the ideology-forming values of the Eurasian civilization specific for the North Caucasus and Russia with their differentiation into political, ethical and epistemological types is substantiated. These types can be considered as a factor of consolidating the peoples of the entire post-Soviet space, but also as a basis for inter-civilizational and intercultural dialogue owning to their substantial wealth combining alternative traditions. Structuring a multilayer culture with horizontal and vertical slices allows to identify the fundamental and peripheral parts of the culture of the post-Soviet and Eurasian peoples, as well as globalization, civilization, and ideological values. In their hierarchy, the highest level is occupied by the ideals of freedom, democracy, rationality, collectivism, material or spiritual priority and other political, ethical and epistemological values. Tensions between peoples and civilizations that have a potential for conflict and the ability to lead to extremism and terrorism are connected with the clashes of their interpretations, both in mass consciousness and theory. The paper formulates proposals in connection with the preparation of the new Russian State National Policy for the period of 2012–2025, which is complemented with a conceptual apparatus emphasizing the Russian civilizational identity.

Keywords: Globalizationcivilizationideological and ethno-confessional valuesEurasianismRussiathe North Caucasus


Globalization has intensified intercultural contacts and given rise to specific social contradictions that occupied an extremely high level in their system. The origins and determinants of these contradictions lie primarily in the nature of the conflict of ethnic and religious values. The perpetual ethnic and religious confrontation in the world has a wide range of manifestations, and the study of their states, internal and external causes, and ways to overcome them is an urgent research task.

The cultural-spiritual confrontation ‘East – West’, in which the mentor's cautionary approach of the West in relation to the East, beginning from the modern era, at the turn of the Millennium, has been aggravated by its claims to the energy wealth of the Middle East, by wars against the Arab regimes and peoples unleashed by the United States and its European allies, and as a result, the mass migration of the Afro-Asian population to Western Europe, and the collapse of the multiculturalism policy.

The above mentioned and other continental and regional sociopolitical transformations in the context of globalization have made all the humanity in general and different-scale regional groups of peoples and countries united by historical cultural and religious processes in particular, take their civilizational choice. In addition, the world has found itself in the state of planetary bifurcation – superpowers are on the verge of a Cold War between each other, and people are in the political stochasticity and instability phase. Philosophers, political scientists and conflictologists have no question other than: how to overcome the increasing separatist aspirations that feed extremism and terrorism, how to find and cultivate the methodology of transition from conflict to cooperation?

Problem Statement

The role of Sufism in the value integration of the ethnic groups of the Eurasian space is considered, first of all, in their largest religious systems – Orthodoxy, Islam, Buddhism and Judaism.

The key objective of this study is to substantiate the hypothesis for the ideology-forming values of the Eurasian civilization specific to the North Caucasus and Russia-wide with their differentiation into political, ethical and epistemological varieties. Because of their substantial wealth combining alternative traditions, these values are considered not only as a factor of consolidating the peoples of the entire post-Soviet space, but also as a basis for intercivilizational and intercultural dialogue./

Research Questions

The post-Soviet community has a complex spiritual life and culture, just like any peoples of other areas inhabiting their regions for thousands of years. One can agree that such a “culture is a multilayered phenomenon. Its main attributes, conventionally called “thick,” gradually become thinner as they move from the core to the periphery. Thick culture is fundamental: cultural meanings are rooted in history, deeply embedded in public institutions and practices. Thick culture is given. It precedes and forms both institutions and practices” (Stepanyants, 2012, p. 9). The solution of the research tasks of our paper should be made on the basis of consideration of this fundamental culture, which M.T. Stepanyants, following W. Mishler and D. Pollak, calls ‘thick’ (Mishler & Pollack, 2018).

It is necessary to take into account that the region under study, including the entire Russian society, is characterized by the interaction of four distinct types of culture. There is a cultural layer, whose carriers are “traditionalists”, that feel nostalgic for the culture of the Soviet period. They are opposed by liberal culture. Conservatism actively manifests itself in the ideological, political and spiritual life of society, and a special place is occupied by religious culture (Marshak, 2014). These parts, in our opinion, are the result of a horizontal slice of the entire culture of the post-Soviet space.

Despite the fact that the multi-layered culture of the Eurasian space and Russia has become more complicated in the context of globalization, being under the conditions of aggressive invasion of Western culture, its modern version - postmodernism, we nevertheless “are witnessing a transitional era in the world history, which is accompanied by the revival of traditional national-cultural and religious consciousness, which, in turn, becomes the foundation for constructing a new social identity in the context of globalization’’ (Anastasiev, 2017, p. 420). Basically, this is the revival of the conservative spirit, most supporters of which follow Eurasianism and justify it as a geopolitical project of Russia (Avksentyev & Aksyumov, 2015).

As we see it, the core of a conservative culture, in virtue of its appealing to the past, is constituted by the fundamental and deep spiritual intentions and deep-seated specific mental origins of peoples. Using the philosophical terminology, this set of intentions is appropriate to be called the ontological basis of human spirituality – reason, creativity, will, emotions, morality, freedom, inherited as sociocultural codes and archetypes of collective consciousness by generations. If nations have values that are stable in the era of globalization, it is they that serve as their identification signs and it is mainly on their basis that the convergence and unity of peoples is possible.

Globalization and postmodernism have led to such a “cultural development” that encouraged the national-cultural identity. As I. Kuchuradi noted, in the modernizing world it was almost everywhere interpreted as a return to the archaic, and therefore it had its consequences, the most amazing of which was the spread of fundamentalism, which won positions in many parts of the world” (Kuchuradi, 2008, p. 26). That is why, speaking of the common spiritual values of the Eurasian ethnoses, it is necessary to take into account historical traditions and to pay attention to the, one might say, toxic situation of the nowadays for these productive traditions. Under these conditions, in the modernizing world an organized and tendentious reaction to European and North American culture is growing. At the same time, it seems ambiguous in significance for the progressive development of human society. Some politicians treat the social significance and justification of cultivating the relevant national ideas and social ideology of historical values and traditions with caution as they see the roots of the emergence of authoritarian regimes in a number of countries in which there is ‘human rights abuse, power control’ and as a response reaction ‘any terrorist acts on the part of some community members dissatisfied with the existing situation’ (Yakin, 2013, p. 22) in neoliberalism, globalization, and the influence of the West.

Syncretism of Sufism in the integration of religious systems of the peoples of the Eurasian geopolitical space. As it is known, the syncretism of Sufism and many values of the Eurasian peoples, the initial mixture and inorganic combination of heterogeneous elements in them, transformed borrowings from magic, early Eastern and ancient cults, and so on, create new and unique conditions for the complementarity and interpenetration of traditionally cultivated world religions in the region. Both epistemological irrationalism and philosophical-theological mysticism, based on emotions, intuition, unconscious way of perceiving the world as fundamental gains of Sufism, are not only essential elements of the Eurasian spirit, they often appear as a means of bringing together ethnic and religious cultures of the West and the East. The role of Sufism is particularly productive in the convergence of Islam and Orthodoxy in the system of Eurasian values. Islam itself, even in its orthodox version, is much closer to Orthodoxy than all other world and non-world religions. It is not for nothing that it was noted that “mysticism within the framework of Christian and Muslim cultures is a definite conceptual scheme, a metacultural reference point ...” (Baranets, 2000, p.73).

The vertical slice of the post-Soviet culture made in this section shows that such ideals and norms of knowledge as mysticism, irrationalism, intuitivism, and epistemological values are in harmony with quite appropriate moral guidelines of the Eurasian peoples. It is no secret that the founders of the Eurasian ideology themselves gave priority to spiritual values among religious ones, opposing them to the antipode of irrationality - heartless rationality - Christian self-sacrifice, and the warmth of human relations. These moral principles oppose European individualism, for centuries collectivism and fraternal mutual assistance were cultivated among people throughout the Eurasian space both at work and in everyday life. Indeed, these values are not the feature of only a religious worldview, but they penetrate into all other spheres of social being. It is correctly noted, “the essence of the Eurasian civilization is not in religion, culture, statehood, economic structure and geographic location, but in the system connections of all these factors” (Osinsky, 2017, p. 528).

It is generally recognized that in the civilizational origins of the national tradition of Eurasian peoples there are serious grounds for developing such a path, the main value of which would be an orientation towards ascetic moderation based on the priority of spiritual value rather than towards ever-increasing material production and consumerism. These values – moderation, self-restraint, mutual aid, conciliarism, Jamaatism and other moral principles are also brought to the Eurasian space from the East, they are close to both Sufism and the mentality of the Caucasian ethnic groups. For centuries they have been cultivated by the Slavic peoples of southern Russia. We believe that after the era of a comprehensive crisis of the West, which exhausts its spiritual and historical potencies, the era of Eastern and Asian domination in the perspectives of the world spirit will come, and the Eurasian world will appear to be a special subject.

As it is known, the understanding of freedom, which draws the political line between countries, appears to be the schism value between the East and the West. Freedom within the framework of liberal democracy is associated with egoism and extreme individualism and rationalism, whereas in the mentality of Eurasian peoples it is organic in its unity with truly human spirituality, and responsibility. The words of N. Berdyaev, ‘not only for their own destiny and the fate of their neighbors, but also for the fate of their people, humanity and the world’ should not be left unmentioned. This freedom is comprehended not only by collectivism – the aggression of rationalism and scientism is weakened by its heart. It is not a simplified freedom as a stated by science cognized necessity, but a freedom that attracts not so weighty (compared to science) forms of social consciousness – mythology, art, beliefs – for its cultivation. This approach corresponds to the change of a key epistemological value – the rationality itself. The above-mentioned transition to irrationalism, in fact, is a transition to a new type of rationality – to post-non-classical rationality – “as soon as science begins to work with complex human-sized objects, the type of rationality changes as a component of the spiritual matrix of technological culture” (Stepin, 2017, p. 353). These changes in science, as noted above, are also comprehended by postmodern philosophers and advanced Western politicians as the need to revise both the policies and the values that have led European culture to a crisis. Not all the traditions and norms of culture are equivalent in this crisis both in terms of the scale of their influence, and in terms of their meaningful and semantic impact on culture. The ideals noted here occupy a higher level in the hierarchy of values. First of all, these are globalization ideological values that need new theoretical substantiation – value rationality, freedom, human rights, multiculturalism, etc. (Bilalov, 2015, p. 206).

Ideological political, ethical and epistemological values of the Eurasian civilization and their role in the consolidation of peoples and inter-civilizational cultural dialogue. The Eurasian ethnographic space not only occupies a middle position between Asia and Europe, but is formed as a specific culture based on the interaction of European and Asian, Western and Eastern culture, thereby being endowed with a special purpose – the function of fostering dialogue in the modern world. At the same time, “Eurasianism as a mature movement of Russian social thought has become one of the most powerful conceptual strategies for the search for the civilizational identity of the Russian world and culture” (Dymchenko, 2012, p. 196). But Russia, as well as the whole Eurasian geopolitical space, is complexly structured, neither isotropic and nor homogeneous, it has ethnic and religious cultures of different degrees of intensity. The Northern Caucasus and the South of Russia are characterized by an extraordinary ethnocultural diversity – over this ‘geopolitical space from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea a unique cultural integrity that acts as the ‘connecting border of nations and civilizations, the internal bridge of the Eurasian world’ have been formed over the centuries (Gorshkov, 2015, p. 35). It is no coincidence that one of the basic books of Lev Gumilev is called “Millennium around the Caspian”. Scythians, Turks, Khazars, Alans, Golden Horde emerged on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Having access to the Caspian Sea, the Russian state obtained a solid basis. The Caspian is a kind of starting point for Eurasianism. The Caspian Sea is the heart of Eurasia.

The interaction of four above-mentioned distinct types of culture, characteristic of Russia has an internal inconsistency. However, not all contradictions are of conflicting potential. The stable Soviet traditions, the values of liberalism and conservatism, the ethno-religious origins of the peoples in Eurasianism interact at different levels. And only at the level of the ideology when their contradictions affect as civilizational, and becoming particularly acute lead to extremist confrontations. Moreover, this opposition is characterized by liberal, on the one hand, and all other values, on the other hand. Here the ideological ideals of freedom, democracy, rationality and some other political, ethical and epistemological values clash.

Eurasianism as a socio-philosophical doctrine offers a new dialogue, replacing the past and the present ones. It is well known that nowadays the real dialogue takes place in the mode of open or hidden imposition of the values of the West and the East on either side. Non-violent dialogue should not resolve itself into the upholding of one’s position and attitudes with tolerance towards others. The result of such a dialogue and polylogue should lead to a radical change in categorical value opposites, to the transformation of the values serving the fundamental ideals of human ideology – that is freedom, individual and societal rights, targeted and value rationality, liberal and consocional democracy, in the first place. Cultivating such a dialogue and such tolerance is a significant way to counter radical extremist manifestations. And in this situation Eurasian values are effective, to the formation of which the historical and ethnic traditions of the Southern region of Russia have contributed. Yu.A. Zhdanov drew the attention of researchers to the power of historical traditions, giving a special color to the entire South of Russia, and their inexhaustibility at the Caucasus. “There is no region on the planet where hundreds of nations would live long and together. This amazing variety of colors is a precious treasure of all humanity ... "(Zhdanov, 2012, p. 21).

Understanding the civilization identity of the South of Russia, religious and historical values of the local peoples in the past and the future, breaking them down into political, moral and epistemological ideals and norms, gives our social science and politics additional arguments in search of prospects for strategic development. Russia and its regions should not copy the West in their movement towards civil society, they will have to realize, supplement and develop their own version, including the Eurasian basic principles corresponding to the mentality, culture, religion and economic order of our peoples.

It should be borne in mind that the region is in historical dynamics, and its two alternative trends of ethnogenesis and national genesis are eternal and inseparable. Ethnic groups and nations are specifically historical, their sociocultural characteristics are changeable. Ethnic groups are the main source of the formation and development of the nation. The methodology based on the unity of the subjective and the objective, the ideas of primordialism and instrumentalism, the formational and civilizational approaches to history, the trends of globalization and glocalization, and social constructivism in the improvement and effectivization of the Russian State National Policy for the period of 2012–2025 become significant.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the paper is to study the ethnic, religious and Eurasian values of the peoples of the post-Soviet space in the context of their classification as determinants of interethnic, interfaith and civilizational contradictions/

Research Methods

The undertaken analysis uses the methodology based on the unity of the subjective and the objective, the ideas of primordialism and instrumentalism, the formational and civilizational approaches to history and ethnocultural issues, the trends of globalization and glocalization, and social constructivism.


On October 26, 2018, a regular meeting of the Presidential Council on Interethnic Relations was held under the presidency of V. Putin in the administrative center of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug – Ugra, where the President noted (Office of the Russian President, 2018) the need to implement the strategy ‘taking into account the cultural, historical and national peculiarities of our regions’. A new version of the Russian State National Policy for the period of 2012–2025 is in preparation, it is being complemented by the conceptual apparatus, the attention is focused on the Russian civilizational identity. However, in their presentations Professors V. Zorin, V. Tishkov and other developers of the old and new Strategy made no mention of the need to dissociate themselves from the drive towards liberal ideology, though they dealt with the position agreed upon by “various scientific schools”, and the principles of an independent Russian state or public Eurasian ideology were not suggested. Moreover, such an addition to the Strategy would significantly improve it, increasing its political and practical effectiveness.


The Eurasian values that are essential to the peoples of the Southern part of Russia are focused on combining alternative values and therefore can be considered not only as a factor in consolidating of the peoples of the relevant post-Soviet space, but also as a basis for inter-civilization and intercultural dialogue. That is why government policy should be aimed at maintaining and developing the identity of ethnic groups, and the emergence of new features in them. But in order to preserve the creative form of the peoples, the real policy of the ethno-national relations of Russia must distance itself from forcing the merger of peoples into a single nation and support the ethnic existence. An important recommendation of this paper appears to be the following: in their practice of nation-building, state and non-state structures of civil society should be based on communitarian ideals, principles and norms of consocional democracy, in which the rights of an ethnic group and nation prevail over individual rights and freedoms. At first glance the above-mentioned Russian State National Policy is indifferent to any ideology – there are no references to it and it is not even mentioned. In fact, following the Constitution of the Russian Federation, the Russian State National Policy openly gravitates to the principles of liberal democracy, the Eurocentric system of values. The interim results of the Policy have recently been summarized, and the attempts to create its new version in order to improve the national policy of Russia have been made. From this document we can expect serious opposition to extremist and terrorist manifestations, for which the ideological, political, ethical and epistemological values of Eurasian civilization, considered in this work, should receive a well-defined conceptual understanding


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29 March 2019

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Bilalov, M. I., & Akaev, V. H. (2019). The Hierarchy Of Values In The Communal Contradictions Of Socio-Cultural Transformations. In D. K. Bataev (Ed.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism, vol 58. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 61-68). Future Academy.